Posts Tagged ‘competitions’

I recently saw a post on twitter about a writing competition and decided it would be silly not to enter, so this week most of my writing attention has been on that. It’s good timing though, as it involves looking back at the Family Tree novel which is what I’ve been doing anyway!

It has given me a chance to re-write my synopsis too, focussing on what exactly I want to tell an agent/publisher/reader/competition judge about my characters.

I want to make them feel for them, just as strongly as I do – I need them to care what happens to them, what trials they face and how they get through them. I want them to see the way the characters develop and grow, how each person impacts on the others and changes their perception of what the world is.

So that’s what I’m trying to do. For this competition, the synopsis can be up to 10 pages long which is ten times the agents I tried, so there’s a lot of scope there – but there is a definite balance between giving details and being too detailed, which I need to reach. I have only a few more days to work on it, as I intend to submit on Wednesday.

Wish me luck!

As well as that, I’ve been gradually trying to sort out my writing space.  I have a study at home, but for a multitude of reasons I never write in there.  In fact, my writing desk is actually in my lounge (the one in the header picture above!) and my husband sits there when he’s working from home, so we rarely use the study at all.  The hope is that when it’s reorganised, I will have a quiet space to hide away and get a different perspective – I really do find that changing where I work can break down writing blocks, so the more places I can get pen to paper, the better!

That’s it for this week – I’m off to summarise some more!

Happy writing,



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This week I’ve struggled to find writing time – with family events including a big birthday party for my partner, helping arrange an event for the local charity I support, and illness (my own this time!), writing has slipped down the list of priorities.

Getting ready for my partner’s party, I was looking out a list of songs that were #1 singles on this date going back as far as I could, and I found this.  I love a bit of Bowie and clearly I am an 80’s girl at heart as that’s what I nearly always share!

Back to writing – I do have a new idea for the current novel but I’m going to scope that out during my retreat when I can give full attention to it; I was inspired by one of the books I’ll be talking about on Tuesday to think about the book in a more flexible way…

I’m also preparing to contact more agents which I want to do before I go away; my target is another 2 this week.  As I am going to be in rehearsals for a play every day the week after I might not get any more done before retreat but hopefully when I come back I’ll find out I won the competition I entered and I’ll have an agent.

I may as well keep the faith, after all!!

In other news – This week we’re on book 29, Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy on the 100 novels list. This is one of those I can’t remember if I read or not, back in my studious student days; I know I’ve read some Hardy prose and am not convinced I enjoyed it but it may have been Tess.  Oh, for a better memory…

And finally – I’ve been looking into writing competitions; one I saw might be of interest to some of you guys.  It’s The Bridport Prize, and is an annual competition across various categories.  The closing date is 31 May so have a look if you’re thinking of sending work off and don’t know where to start.

Until next time, happy writing,



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I said a couple of weeks ago that I was looking into a competition. The details were given to me by a friend in my writing group and it’s a first novel competition for unpublished writers.

The prize is incredibly good and worth a great deal to any writer; it is however only open to unpublished writers which makes it even more amazing! It’s so good, in fact, I would be an idiot not to do it.

To enter, I have to send my work, a mini biography and a synopsis, all things I have ready to go.  But when I was preparing the paperwork to print off and send, I started thinking about ways to improve the submission.  I haven’t really read any of it for months, I just print it or attach it and send it whenever I need to do so.  This time, I’ve had a break from it, and I can see it in a more detached way.

So I looked at what I was sending.  I won’t change the novel much, although I have decided not to submit the prologue.  It hasn’t necessarily been cut forever, just left off this submission due to word count limitations.

The synopsis is being properly, and carefully, reviewed.  I need it to grab the judges so they engage with the potential of the story as well as enjoying my writing – I need them to see there is a market for this work and that it is the kind of market that makes taking a risk worthwhile.

I’m also trying to make the biography more dynamic – I’m trying to sell my ideas and the better I explain myself, the more the judges will understand my vision.  That’s the theory anyway…

In the meantime, research on the next novel continues – but this’ll be a boring blog if I just say that every week until the end of April!

I did have a little burst of inspiration this week, heading home from an eye appointment.  This idea needs me to collaborate with someone – I have an idea who, but I haven’t approached them yet.  It feels exciting and like I have a great secret, just thinking about the story, so that’s got to be a good sign, right?

In other news – we’re up to Book 18 in the best novels list – Alice in Wonderland.  I’m reading it now; I can’t remember ever having read it before though.  I won’t say too much here as I’m going to comment on it on Thursday, but I’m enjoying it!

And finally – I’ve told you before that I set up a writing group as I couldn’t find one I was happy with – well, after a few months getting everyone to have a go at different styles of writing, we are now up and running.  It’s been great so far; positive, supportive and rewarding, and I really recommend that for any of you who can’t find a group you like, to set one up yourself.  You can meet in pubs, cafes, libraries – wherever suits you and keeps costs down.

I’ll tell you how it’s progressing another time, but for today it’s time to pack up and relax!

Until next time, happy writing,



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This week, I’ve continued with my prep, but I’ve also been working on a couple of new ideas. It’s been a week of mix and match, work-wise!

I have tried not to go too far with one as it’s a story, but I wanted to write it down before I forgot it. It was inspired by a phrase I read in the comments of a vlog, on YouTube. It had made me smile when I first saw it but then a couple of times it had popped into my head, and finally, it came with a slight change, and an idea.

That idea took me in a whole new direction, and actually into a direction I read about as a student, when I did my degree. I won’t say more now, but it’s sitting there, waiting for some time and attention in the future.

The second is a poem, currently called ‘The Pegasus Cloud’.  I thought of the title before anything else of the poem, but it’s coming in stages and I’ll see where it ends up!  Obviously mythology immediately came to mind that title, but that isn’t all I want to cover so I have a little challenge with myself!

I like it when new ideas bloom in my brain but I have to stay focussed and not let the prep for the next story fall behind; having just booked the retreat again I want to be in a position to write then!

Meanwhile I have details of a first novel competition that I am thinking about entering – more on that when I decide 🙂

In other news – we’re up to book 17 in the novel list, which is Moby-Dick (hyphen added as Melville’s preference!).  In line with my 2014 reading challenge, when I saw this come up I decided to read it – after all, if it’s really the pinnacle of US literature, I should have read it!  Sadly, I am not enjoying it and at about 25% into the book I am longing to stop – I read another book today just to give myself a mental palate cleanse…  I will give it a little longer but it’s probable that I will give up on this one.  Sorry, Moby fans – but if you love the book, tell me what draws you to it!

And finally – As I’ve said many times before, I love space!  So when I saw this article about a mystery on Mars, I wanted to share it because it gave me a number of ideas: I don’t write science fiction but if I ever change my genre I’ll be starting here…

That’s it for this week, but don’t forget to give me book suggestions for this year’s challenge!

Happy writing,



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Week 56 found me disheartened as a writer. Rejections feel personal and when you’ve entered a competition and don’t place, it can feel even worse. But a poetry competition is as much about the preferences of the judge, the feeling they get from the poem, as the validity of the piece – and as a poet I have to stand by my work. I love this poem; by posting it here I will never send it to another competition or off for magazine publication, but you know what – I can live with that. I’d rather people could see it and – hopefully – enjoy it than it sit in a file on my computer for ever more, rejected and sad.

I guess the point is to say love your work, and do it for love, and if other people don’t enjoy it that’s a shame but it’s not the end of the world!  If you want to see the winners, they are here and you will see they are of very different styles to mine!

Afternoon Seaside

A bright warm sun sits on my shoulder,
Parrot-style. It draws my image, elongated
Across a sticky path of dripped ice-cream.

The sea is the colour of Paraiba apatites:
A subtle, shining sheet of gems
Twinkling provocatively in the light.

But the pebbled shore is dry, and dead –
Solar hands bleached its seaweed offering,
As omnipresent seagulls ate shelled day-trippers.

And the wind that wraps me in my hair
Carries a gentle scent – the aromatic
Portent of another change to come:

Clouds form a fence between the heavens
And the earth, as the ever-nearing horizon
Fills with tomorrow’s stormy weather.

So we ignore the imperfections, and the
Cooling evening sun: tomorrow’s end of summer
Makes us glad, today, we’ve come.

So on to my holiday.  I realised very early on how much technology is a part of my life, as on my way my mobile completely failed.  I had no internet there and the dongle I took didn’t work, and then my computer started playing up – but I wonder when it became normal to have all these things on holiday?  This wasn’t a researching trip like last year, so why did I feel the need to look at the internet at all?  I took my computer because I needed to complete a submission (which I did, but am not overly happy with), but why did I feel so lost without a phone?  It’s a good reminder how things have changed over a very short time: I still remember getting my first mobile phone 12 years ago, now people go on Facebook when they’re on a beach on holiday!

Other than that, and the completion of my short story, I wrote a fair few notes but spent most of my time actually being present and engaging with the experiences.  I have returned home with loads of ideas as well as some early format poems so I’m really looking forward to getting my teeth into some new pieces.  Although, as you know, I’m not exactly a skilled photographer I am hoping that the images I recorded will be a reminder of the feelings that each place and scene evoked.   I will keep you updated on progress…

I’ve also started planning for October’s projects so I hope to give you a bit of a heads-up about that next week.

Until then – happy writing from a very well rested me!



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